She hated phones, but she hated words more. If it weren't for words, there'd be no communication, and without communication, she wouldn't be locked in a bathroom stall, breaking up with her boyfriend via text messaging. It was rather pathetic on her part, further proving that she had no balls, but she never made such claims. After all, she was born a female--the lesser sex. Well, that was her excuse.
The current exchange between the two proved to be no less stimulating than trying to hold a conversation with her deaf grandmother every Saturday when visiting the veterans home. It was dull and every word mechanic, as if spoken, or typed, on routine.
She was tired of routine. She needed an escape, and dating Nevin was routine. Every word exchanged was carefully reviewed in silence before a verbal emission, and every touch and every kiss was hesitant. For once, she wanted to dive head first into the fray, seeking the unknown. She wanted her emotions, instead of rationale, to seize control.
/we need to talk/ were her first words as she locked herself in the stall. Even the break-up was beginning to seem routine. The nervousness she expected was absent, instead, it felt like another morning, another day.
Nevin was in class; a rapid response wasn't expected. He had his priorities straight, and conversing on the phone wasn't at the top of his agenda. God forbid his learning be disrupted.
Uncharacteristically, a response did come, seconds after the first message was sent.
/what's on your mind?/ His face, she imagined, wouldn't be filled with concern, but with a curiosity. Any concern was always directed towards himself, it was selfish, but it was one of the qualities she did like. It made him more human, more apt to err.
Any poetic words escaped the clutches of her fingers, and she slumped back against the blue, stall door. She wanted to leave a lasting impression, to be the first to hurt him with words.
/salem/ His patience was wearing. He lived in a fast paced world. Meals were eaten in forty-five minutes or less and dates never lasted longer than an hour and a half. He could wait a little longer, she decided.
/yeah, i'm here/ she finally replied, the tips of her fingertips hitting the keys of her phone with more force than necessary.
/so...?/ She knew he wanted to add 'Why the fuck are you bothering me?'.
Snapping the phone shut, she thought for something to say. The phone flipped open, only to be snapped shut, once again. With an annoyed grunt, she opened the phone again and began to type.
/you're too predictable/
His response was delayed. In confusion, he was probably shaking his head, trying to make meaning of her words.
/what?/ She laughed, voice raw, surprisingly light, and tilted her head back to look at the ceiling tiles.
/i'm through with you/ Without hesitation, she pressed the send button. The ease of ending the relationship rivalled the beginning of it.
Standing up, she let off a stretch, feeling no different than she had before she sent the first message and locked herself in the stall. She had wanted it to be harder, present more of a challenge, perhaps, that was the basis for the instigation.
Breaking up with Nevin didn't provide liberation, nor did it provide relief. Nothing was different. Her days were sure to continue on and usual, and any conflict between Nevin and herself would be nonexistent. Avoiding drama was one of his top priorities. He was above petty, high school bullshit.
She walked out of the stall, half hoping for something to be out of place around her, instead, she was met with the predictable. The same cycle repeated itself when she walked out of the restroom. The halls were fairly empty. People were still in class. Salem's gaze followed the approach and departure of the tall freshman with square, chunky, black glasses. He gave her a half wave. She returned the wave, wanted him to unexplainably drop down dead in the middle of the hall--anything to assure her something different was bound to occur.
Nothing happened as she tightly clutched the tardy slip and sweat from the palm of her hand permeating the pink paper. A heavy, frustrated sigh escaped her lips as she made the trek to her physics classroom. Each time she passed by a fire alarm, she considered pulling it in reassurance to the change she hoped to come. One. Two. Three alarms. Temptation was strong, but she fought it off with a rational mind.
Mentally, she berated herself. She wanted a change, but there she was, using rationale. Again.
She neared room 313, Nevin's third hour class. The door was open, and she spotted his sandy, tousled hair out of the bunch. He was preoccupied. Not with the chemical equations on the board, but with the girl next to him, Dailey Donahue. He laughed at something Dailey said. Nevin never laughed. Humour was below him. 'Pointless waste of energy,' he once said.
She clenched the slip even more tightly in her hand, jealous of ability Dailey had to capture his attention like she never could. She walked past the door, her yellow, canvas shoes slapping more heavily against the tiled floors.
Stopping, she leaned against the wall, next to a drinking fountain, and retrieved her phone. She typed in his number, fingers aggressively hitting the keypad.
/you laugh like a drunkard/ It was pathetic, and she knew it. She rarely heard him laugh, and some prepubescent girl made it seem like it was natural emission.
She waited for his response, or therefore lack of. She wasn't sure it would come, but it did. /is there a point to this? i thought you're through/
Running her teeth along her bottom lip, she typed/i am/, and snapped her phone shut. She continued on, down the hall.
Jealousy didn't suit her, she decided, and hit the power button on her phone, turning it off. Her feet shuffled along, scuffing the floor.
Another fire alarm, and the jealous came back, full force. She stopped in front of it, and before rationale could kick in, she pulled it. The shrill sound echoed off the walls, and students filtered out into the halls. She moved along with the horde, getting shoved here and there. A few, panicky screams penetrated the air. She clasped her hands to her ears, driving out the mixture of the sounds.
Finally. A change.
She walked outside, with a genuine grin plastered to her face.
"Why did you pull the alarm, Salem?" came the gruff voice of Mr. Isham, the Vice Principal, as Mr. Wuthershed was on vacation in some Asian country. Indonesia, Malaysia, maybe the Philippines.
She leaned forward, the loose bolts attached to the plastic chair biting into her back. "For the same reason Eve ate the apple."
Creases marked his forehead, extending into his receding hairline. "The devil tempted you..." He sounded confused and looked her over once more, still trying to comprehend the full meaning behind her words.
A laugh, light and unburdened, escaped her lips. "I guess you could say that."
He, too, leaned forward in his leather chair as he scribbled something on a piece of paper. He looked up, from behind his bifocals, and twisted the fountain pen between his fingers. "I'm trying to find a reason not to suspend you," he supplied, pushing up the bridge of his glasses.
"I'm not helping your case, am I?" she said, noticing the irritation in his posture.
Mr. Isham shook his head. "That you aren't," he said resolutely. "Care for another try? I firmly believe in second chances."
She picked up the phone receiver and handed it to him. "Call my parents. I'll take the suspension."
" Salem," began Mr. Isham, "are you absolutely sure? This issue could easily be resolved. You're always been a respectable, fair student."
The phone was pushed back at her. He was making it harder for the change she desired to occur. Everything could return back to normal with a few simple words, but she wasn't sure if normalcy was what she desired.
"Call them," she ordered with a deep breath.
Slowly, Mr. Isham's head moved back and forth. "I can't allow you to make a rather stupid decision. You're on probation, which means serving daily detention until I decide otherwise."
Detention was change, but it wasn't the solid change that would reaffirm everything she hoped to happen. Normal people served detention. Only a select few received suspension.
"But sir," she tried to refute.
"Stop it. Stop it, right now!" he barked, waving his hand in dismissal. "Leave my office now. Go back to class. Do something...productive."
A sadistic smirk crossed Mrs. Lebnelle's features as she looked from face to face, memorising the various contours of those attending her detention session.
"Detention will be served in silence," she snapped from the front of her room. "That means no homework, no mobiles, and certainly no Game Pods."
A boy from the back with a corduroy vest jutted out his lip. "But Nellie," he began in a whiny voice, "I thought detention was an attempt to exorcise us of our hellish tendencies. Shouldn't tedious activities such as homework be a requirement?"
Mrs. Lebnelle snorted. "Oh, get on a treadmill if you need exercise, Creighton." Her stilettos clacked against the floor in tribute to her dramatics, and she slumped down, into her chair. "Another day spent and wasted with the world's peons," muttered Mrs. Lebnelle.
After Mrs. Lebnelle took her seat, the room remained quiet, but the no mobiles rule seemed to slip over the students' heads as they spent their remaining time texting the others in class. Crude messages travelled in an electrical current around the class. Surprisingly, Salem received a few, but she had no other person worth forwarding them to.
The hour and a half passed by as slow as an episode of The Young And The Restless, and she'd seen her fair share of the dramasodes in the veteran's home. She remained quiet throughout the period, even though that rule seemed to diminish after the first twenty minutes. Even Mrs. Lebnelle took part in a select few, her words always scathing and oozing with sarcasm.
Creighton, by far, seemed to be Mrs. Lebnelle's favourite. Most of her remarks towards him were insulting, but she never relinquished the chance to denounce something he said. It confused Salem, but people tended to have their odd ticks.
When she could, Salem gathered her backpack and made for a quick exit. A male voice stopped her.
"Oy, newbie, what's the rush?" shouted Creighton, slinging his pack over his left shoulder. "Repulsed by our very presence already? Usually, it takes at least two sessions."
He caught up to her as others filed out of the room in unlikely pairs, contradicting the high school social status clichés. He grinned, unlike Nevin, it came easily to him.
"I have a name," she said impatiently.
"Really?" he asked incredulously. What an actor. He stuck out his hand. "So do I!" The enthusiasm in his voice was enough to make her smile--for the second time that day.
Change was definitely occurring.
When she didn't grab his hand, he did it for her, and vigorously shook it up and down before releasing it. "My slave name is Creighton Harlem Durham, but I go by Creighton."
" Salem," she supplied, exiting the classroom when she felt Creighton's hand on the small of her back, ushering her out of the classroom.
An odd look must have crossed her face because he felt the need for an explanation. "Aunt Macey has to lock up the classroom."
"Macey Lebnelle, my father's sister, but I call her Nellie because I reckon it gets a slight rise out of her. She never did like Little House on the Prairie." He shifted in front of her, so he was facing her. "So," he trailed off, "you're name's Salem." She nodded. "And you're serving detention on a strict sentence."
She didn't understand what he was getting at. The conversation kept walking around in circles with no definite direction and no prominent progress. It was pointless.
She loved every moment of it.
"I'm Creighton, and you're Salem," he tried again. "Creighton. Salem. Creighton and Salem. There's no ring, but why the fuck does everything have to rhyme?" He furrowed his eyebrows and continued on with the name game. "Creighton and Salem. I like it."
"Glad to know you like your name..."
"I must admit, I rather do like it. It's a contributing factor to my enlarged ego."
He randomly shook his head, his unkempt, dark hair falling into his eyes. "I've tried to avoid your initiation for consecutive detentions long enough," he declared, "but alas, it cannot be put off any longer."
Before Salem had a chance to respond, Creighton grabbed her by the shoulders, and she stumbled into him. His lips came crashing down on hers. As quickly as they came, they went, leaving her with a surprised expression. He gave her a cheeky grin before giving her a salute. He retreated with a bounce in his step.
"Until tomorrow, Salem," he shouted, already halfway down the hall.
She remained in the same spot for several moments, wondering what tomorrow might bring, only later to find out that there was no such thing as initiation into detention.
Change had finally occurred, at full force.
A/N: Right, well, if you've seen this before, it's because it was on my other account. I decided to move it to this one, seeing as it's a one-shot, and all my one-shots are stored here. So, reviews screaming bouts about plagarism I really don't want to hear, only they might make me laugh. So go ahead.